Phil Jackson hasn’t been traveling with the Knicks, but he has been present at Madison Square Garden for some of the team’s games since accepting a position as president of basketball operations a couple of weeks ago.
He’s apparently been using that opportunity to have informal meetings with some of his former players.
In Los Angeles, Jackson reportedly met with Metta World Peace, who was a member of the Lakers last title team and who played for New York briefly this season before being released.
This week in New York, Jackson reportedly sat down with Lamar Odom — also a member of the 2010 championship team, but who has been troubled recently and is much further removed from a return to basketball.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
For a second time, Phil Jackson met with a former Laker at halftime during a game as Knicks president. This time, it was a sit-down with Lamar Odom during Wednesday’s Knicks-Nets game.
The troubled Odom, 34, is sitting out this season after being arrested over the summer on a DUI charge and spending some time in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. He played last season with the Clippers and met with them in November but never signed. He played five seasons for Jackson with the Lakers, winning two titles. …
Jackson has admitted to being on “a talent hunt’’ and could look at former players familiar with the triangle offense.
Odom shares an agent with Tyson Chandler, but that along with his prior relationship with Jackson won’t by themselves be enough for the Knicks to consider signing him.
Odom’s recent struggles with drugs and a short stint with a Spanish team that was derailed due to injury make him far from a desirable NBA roster addition. It’s likely that the meeting between Jackson and Odom was merely personal in nature, though a reunion wouldn’t be out of the question at some point in the unlikely event that Odom is able to prove capable of being able to play at the professional level once again.